Friday, August 26, 2011


In my family, cookies often played a starring role at dessert. At Christmas each year, cookies were the star, and we made plate after plate of different kinds. Cookies could be the whole dessert, and we would each leave incredibly content.

However, perusing Brooklyn restaurant menus over the past few years, cookies rarely feature on dessert menus. Sure, No. 7 swears by their chocolate chip and bacon cookies, but at most restaurants, cookies only appear on the menu when they are complimenting another dish.

This fregolatta falls into that camp. I needed a cookie to accompany some chocolate pot de cremes that I made. This cookie, described as the little black dress of cookie crumbles seemed just right. Incredibly simple to make, the dough is stirred together and then patted into springform pans. There's none of that fussing to measure exact portions or spending hours pulling out tray after tray of cookies that chocolate chip cookies call for. Instead, two springform pans bake in the oven for 25 minutes each, yielding two huge cookies.

Then comes the fun part. You take the cookie, and you balance it on something. A whole almond is recommended if you want to impress your guests, but any small object will work. You take a wooden spoon, and you whack the cookie as hard as you can. Watch it crumble! Don't be afraid to really hit it.

These crunchy, almond-filled pieces were a perfect compliment to the decadent pot de cremes, and they worked equally as well with coffee for the next few days.

I would have expected nothing left from a Lidia Bastianich recipe. Number 12 on Gourmet Magazine's list of 50 women game changers in food history, she has established quite a food empire for herself.

In selecting Lidia, Gourmet wrote, "Everybody's nonna, Lidia founded an empire, and she does it all: cookbooks, TV shows, restaurants, and wines galore. Then last summer--with son Joe, Mario Batali, and Oscar Farinetti--she opened Eataly, the cucina italiana Manhattan multiverse and basically, took over the world."

Be sure to visit all the other bloggers who made recipes by Lidia Bastianich this week. While you do that, I may just visit Eataly. Fittingly, this post comes on Eataly's 1st birthday:

Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green 

recipe by Lidia Bastianich 

This recipe makes two nine-inch cookies for crumbling, serving 12 to 14.

2 tablespoons soft butter
6 ounces whole, unblanched almonds, toasted
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 scant cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons heavy cream, or more if needed (I added a touch more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Assemble the springform pans, and butter the bottom discs and about an inch up the side. Use baking sheets if you do not have springform pans.

Set aside two or three whole almonds, and chop all the rest coarsely into chunks the size of chocolate chips. Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl, and toss in the chopped almonds.

Beat the yolks together briefly, and drizzle all over the dry ingredients. Toss with a fork to blend. Drizzle the cream over by tablespoons, tossing and stirring to moisten the nut mixture evenly. It should be crumbly but not floury; add a small amount more cream if necessary.

Press into the springform pan, forming an even layer. Bake for about 25 minutes or more, until the cookie rounds are nicely browned and starting to shrink from the side ring of the pan. Let them cool, and then remove the springform sides. Take the cookie off the bottom disc.

To serve, set the fegolotta in front of your guests on the table, with one of the reserved whole almonds underneath it. Smack the fregolatta in the center with the back of a spoon.


  1. This is a novel concept. We are learning so much doing this series.

  2. Definitely a lovely way to cap off a good meal. It sounds delicious!

  3. Sounds like a fun way to serve cookies!

  4. I love Lidia! These cookies look so neat; love the motion shot of you whacking them. And I kind of want to crawl into the bottom picture with the cookies, pots de creme, and deck of cards. =)

  5. These look interesting and fun. Just yesterday we were having a discussion on Twitter about whacking would have been able to contribute this recipe! Will need to give these a try sometime when Matt is home, he would love the whacking part definitely.

  6. What a fun recipe to try in celebration of Lidia Bastianich - the kids would love whacking these cookies into pieces!

  7. Katie, I love your cookies...How cool to break them up with a wooden spoon. My grandkids would sure love that! Great tribute to Lidia! I'm really hoping to go to Eatlay in September when we go into the city for a few days. Have a nice week-end!

  8. As I told Kathy I simple adore Lidia. This looks like such a fun cookie recipe and one I definitely want to try!

  9. What a fun way to make cookies, kids would love it! I Should use this when I need to get some frustration out as well :)

  10. That is such a cool way to make cookies and they sound delicious

  11. This looks like such a fun end to a dinner party!

  12. this desser is a specialty of my mother's region and I've always loved it. I'm sure Lidia's version is great. everything she makes is delicious. I decided to join Mary's bandwagon once I saw Lidia was the featured chef.

  13. How interesting! I know very little about the history of these cookies, but the taste was just delicious. They were nutty and buttery!